The league stage is already halfway done, and in a reversal of trends from IPLs past, Delhi Capitals are in a better position than Sunrisers Hyderabad. Capitals have a two-point advantage, though Sunrisers have played one game less. The key is recent form, though. Capitals have won their last two matches, while Sunrisers have lost both the games in the lead up to this one, and have slipped from near the top of the table to the bottom half.
On paper, Sunrisers have a well-rounded side that has most bases covered. However, their middle order has proved to be brittle, and once teams have found a way past the opening combine of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, they have managed to control the rest of the batting. Of course, going past Warner-Bairstow isn't the easiest thing, but Sunrisers must be mindful of covering the gap if the two do fall cheaply. To that end, the fit-again Kane Williamson might provide the solidity Sunrisers need, but his inclusion will mean that Mohammad Nabi has to sit out. Sunrisers might not be comfortable taking that call, but it could be the one they need to take to bolster the batting. Another possible change they might want to look at is bringing in the young and talented Abhishek Sharma - who played for their opponents last season - in place of Yusuf Pathan.
Capitals too might want to ponder some of their playing XI choices, particularly the place of Rahul Tewatia. They haven't really made use of his lower-order hitting or his legspin much, and they too have a batting order that fizzles a bit after the top order. Shikhar Dhawan's return to form augurs well, but against a team that has as dangerous a bowling attack as Sunrisers, some extra batting insurance in the lower middle-order wouldn't be out of place.
In the news
After a tepid start to IPL 2019, Dhawan found form in Capitals' last win, against Kolkata Knight Riders, and will now face up against his old franchise.
Williamson and Khaleel Ahmed are both back to full fitness, though whether they can be fitted into the XI is yet to be seen. Perhaps two losses on the trot will open up slots for their return.
It was just ten days ago, with the Sunrisers bowlers setting up a modest chase for their batsmen. Bairstow got the chase off to a rollicking start, and despite a bit of a wobble in the middle, Sunrisers had enough in the tank to get past Capitals.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner, 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Abhishek Sharma, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Sandeep Sharma
Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Colin Ingram, 6 Chris Morris, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Keemo Paul, 9 Rahul Tewatia, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Ishant Sharma
Of the frontline batsmen who are expected to be in the XI for Sunrisers, nobody has a strike rate of more than 125 against Chris Morris. Using him first up could tie down the explosiveness of the top order, and give Capitals the flexibility to rotate Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada. Or even punt on Sandeep Lamichhane, who most of the Sunrisers haven't played much of.
Sunrisers might want to delay Rashid Khan's introduction into the attack. This has been Rashid's most economical season in the IPL so far - he's conceding runs at just 5.8 - which indicates how batsmen are playing him with caution. However, three of the five wickets he has got so far have come at the death, where he still goes for only 6.7 per over.
Ishant has been a revelation this season. His economy rate (7.4) is the best he has had in the tournament since 2013. Capitals have used him largely in the Powerplay overs, where his strengths - hitting the deck, getting the ball to move off the pitch - come into play much more. His weaknesses - he doesn't bowl yorkers or do change-ups of pace too often - are not as much of a factor because Capitals have not bowled Ishant at the death at all. Continuing with that plan for Ishant is the way to go.
Stats that matter
The last time Capitals won against Sunrisers in Hyderabad was back in 2016 - the year Sunrisers won the trophy. That remains the only time they have beaten Sunrisers at home, having the lost three other times.
Bhuvneshwar needs one more wicket to get to the 100-wicket mark for Sunrisers.
This is Sunrisers' 100th IPL match.